Patient Care

Magnet Designation Acknowledges Nursing Excellence at Strong Memorial Hospital

Aug. 23, 2018
Nurse and medical student in hospital room with patient

UR Medicine’s Strong Memorial Hospital has earned re-designation as a Magnet® hospital from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), a division of the American Nursing Association. Recognized around the globe as the gold standard for nursing excellence, fewer than 8 percent of American hospitals currently hold this honor.

The Magnet Recognition Program process is rigorous, requiring thousands of pages of documentation and a four-day visit from an ANCC Magnet appraisal team. The evaluation considers nurse contributions to high quality patient care, as well as the hospital’s commitment to creating a positive environment for its nursing staff. Achieving re-designation requires meeting new, more stringent standards for innovation and patient outcomes.

Associate Vice President and Chief Nursing Executive Karen Davis said Strong’s Professional Nursing Council structure, high levels of nurse satisfaction, approaches to increase specialty certification rates, and nurse-driven programs centered on clinical outcomes were among the hospital’s strengths cited by Magnet appraisers.

“Nurses come here because they have opportunities to practice state-of-the-art technology and procedures,” Davis said. “They contribute to high-performing, multidisciplinary teams that are transforming health care through innovation and commitment to excellence.”

Strong is the only area hospital to attain a fourth consecutive recognition, an achievement that reflects its outstanding nursing standards, exceptional professional practice, and supportive environment for its 5,694 nursing professionals.

“We empower our nurses to assist with important decisions regarding patient care, we provide them with opportunities to keep learning throughout their careers, and we recognize their exceptional contributions to patient- and family-centered care,” said Magnet Program Director Stephanie VonBacho, Senior Director for Learning and Development, URMC Clinical Enterprise.

A growing body of research indicates Magnet institutions like Strong enjoy better patient outcomes, including lower mortality rates, when compared to non-Magnet institutions. In addition, Magnet hospitals are more effective at attracting and retaining topnotch nursing professionals. This is particularly important in light of the international nursing shortage, which is expected to challenge health organizations throughout the next decade.

During their site visit and through a review of the 2017 Press Ganey employee staff satisfaction survey, Magnet appraisers confirmed an “exemplary” level of nursing staff engagement and satisfaction. In the survey, Nursing Practice outperformed the national benchmarks in all four areas: Commitment, Employee, Manager, and Organization.

Magnet status originated during a nursing shortage in the 1980s. Strong was among 41 hospitals nationwide that continued successfully to recruit and retain talented nurses. A task force examining the hospitals’ efforts labeled them “magnets” for the profession.

In 2004, Strong was the first hospital in Rochester to achieve Magnet status, which is good for four years. The ANCC renewed the designation in 2009 and 2013. Strong affiliates Highland Hospital and F.F. Thompson Hospital have also earned Magnet status.

Davis and VonBacho credited the contributions of recently retired Chief Nursing Officer and Associate Vice President Pat Witzel for her steadfast leadership, which made this accomplishment possible, along with an extensive team that contributed to preparing materials and organizing the site visit.

About the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program®

The Magnet Recognition Program® administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the largest and most prominent nurses credentialing organization in the world, recognizes healthcare organizations that provide the very best in nursing care and professionalism in nursing practice. The Magnet Recognition Program® serves as the gold standard for nursing excellence and provides consumers with the ultimate benchmark for measuring quality of care. For more information about the Magnet Recognition Program® and current statistics, visit